« ForrigeFortsæt »
To the Moft High and Mightie Prince,
BY THE GRACE OF GOD,
KING OF GREAT BRITAIN
The Tranflatours of the Bible, wish Grace, Mercie, and
Reat and manifold were the bleffings (moft dread fove raigne) which almighty GoD, the Father of all mercies, bestowed upon us the people of ENGLAND, when firft he fent your Majefties Royall perfon to rule and reigne over us. For whereas it was the expectation of many, who wished not well unto our SI O N, that upon the fetting of that bright occidentall ftarre queen ELISABETH of most happy memory, fome thick and palpable clouds of darkneffe would fo have overshadowed this land, that men should have been in doubt which way they were to walk, and that it should hardly be known, who was to direct the unfetled ftate: the appearance of your MAJESTIE, as of the funne in his strength, inftantly difpelled thofe fuppofed and furmised mifts, and gave unto all that were well affected, exceeding cause of comfort, efpecially when we beheld the government established in your HIGHNES, and your hopefull feed, by an undoubted title, and this alfo accompanied with peace and tranquillitie at home and abroad. But amongst all our joyes there was none that more filled our hearts, than the bleffed continuance of the preaching of GoDs facred word amongst us, which is that ineftimable treafure, which excelleth all the riches of the earth, because the fruit thereof extendeth itself, not onely to the time spent in this tranfitory world, but directeth and difpofeth men unto that eternall happineffe which is above in heaven.
Then not to fuffer this to fall to the ground, but rather to take it up, and to continue it in that state, wherein the famous predeceffour of your H16HNES did leave it: nay, to go forward with the confidence and refolution of a man in maintaining the truth of CHRIST, and propagating it farre and neare, is that which hath fo bound and firmly knit the hearts of all your MAJ ESTIES loyall and religious people unto you, that your very name is precious among them, their eye doth behold you with comfort, and they blesse you in their hearts, as that fanctified perfon, who under GoD, is the immediate authour of their true happineffe. And this their contentment doth not diminish or decay, but every day increafseth and taketh strength, when they observe that the zeal of your MAJESTIE toward the house of GoD, doth not flack or go back ward, but is more and more kindled, manifefting it felf abroad in the furtheft parts of Chriftendome, by writing in defence of the truth, which hath given fuch a blow unto that man of finne, as will not be healed) and every day at home, by religious and learned discourse, by
frequenting the house of GoD, by hearing the word preached, by cherishing the teachers thereof, by caring for the Church as a moft tender and loving nurfing Father.
There are infinite arguments of this right Chriftian and religious affection in your MAJEST 1E: but none is more forcible to declare it to others, than the vehement and perpetuated defire of the accomplishing and publishing of this work, which now with all humilitie we prefent unto your MA JESTIE. For when your Highneffe had once out of deep judgement apprehended how convenient it was, that out of the originall facred tongues, together with comparing of the labours, both in our own and other forrein languages, of many worthy men who went before us, there should be one more exact tranflation of the holy fcriptures into the English tongue; your MAJESTIE did never defift to urge and to excite thofe to whom it was commended, that the work might be haftened, and that the businesse might be expedited in fo decent a manner, as a matter of such importance might justly require.
And now at laft, by the mercy of GoD, and the continuance of our labours, it being brought unto fuch a conclufion, as that we have great hope that the Church of England shall reap good fruit thereby; we hold it our duty to offer it to your MAJESTIE, not onely as to our king and foveraigne, but as to the principall mover and authour of the work: Humbly craving of your most facred MAJESTIE, that fince things of this quality have ever been subject to the cenfures of ill-meaning and difcontented perfons, it may receive approbation and patronage from fo learned and judicious a prince as your HIGHNEs is, whofe allowance and acceptance of our labours, shall more honour and incourage us, than all the calumniations and hard interpretations of other men shall difmay us. So that, if on the one fide we shall be traduced by popish perfons at home or abroad, who therefore will maligne us, because we are poore inftruments to make Gods holy truth to be yet more and more known unto the people, whom they defire still to keep in ignorance and darkneffe: or if on the other fide, we shall be maligned by felfconceited brethren, who run their own wayes, and give liking unto nothing but what is framed by themselves,and hammered on their anvile; we may reft fecure, fupported within by the truth and innocency of a good confcience, having walked the wayes of fimplicitie and integritie, as before the LORD, and fuftained without, by the powerful protection of your MAJESTIES grace and favour, which will ever give countenance to honeft and Chriftian endeavours, against bitter cenfures, and uncharitable imputations.
The LORD of heaven and earth bleffe your Majeftie with many and happy dayes, that as his heavenly hand hath enriched your Highneffe with many fingular and extraordinary graces; fo you may be the wonder of the world in this latter age, for happineffe and true felicitie, to the honour of that great GOD, and the good of his Church, through JESUS CHRIST our Lord and onely Saviour.
The Tranflatours to the Reader.
EAL to promote the common good, whether it be by devifing any thing our felves,or revifing that
Yet for all that, the learned know that certain worthy men have been brought to untimely death for none other fault, Anacharfis,
If we will defcend to later times, we shall finde many the like examples of such kinde or rather unkinde acceptance. perfonages The first Romane Emperour did never do a more pleafing deed to the learned, nor more profitable to pofteritie, for C. Cefar. Plus have been conferving the record of times in true fupputation,than when he corrected theCalender and ordered the yeare according' calumniated, the courfe of the funne: and yet this was imputed to him for noveltie, and arrogancie, and procured to him great
obloquy. So the first christened Emperour (at the leaftwife that openly profeffed the faith himself, and allowed others Conftantine. to do the like) for ftrengthening the empire at his great charges, and providing for the Church, as he did, got for his labour the name Pupillus,as who would fay, a waftfull Prince, that had need of a guardian or overfeer. So the best chriftened Aurel. Vict. Emperour, for the love that he bare unto peace, thereby to enrich both himself and his fubjects, and because he did not Theed fius. feek warre but finde it, was judged to be no man at arms, (though indeed he excelled in feats of chivalrie, and shewed Z«fimus. fo much when he was provoked) and condemned for giving himself to his eafe, and to his pleasure. To be short, the moft learned Emperour of former times (at the leaft, the greateft politician) what thanks had be for cutting off the fuper- Juftinian. fluities of the laws, and digesting them into fome order and method? This, that he hath been blotted by fome to be an Epitomift, that is, one that extinguished worthy whole volumes, to bring his abridgements into request. This is the meafure that hath been rendred to excellent Princes in former times, Cùm bene facerent, malè audire, For their good deeds to be evilfpoken of. Neither is there any likelihood, that envie aud malignitie died, and were buried with the ancient. No, no, the reproof of Mofes taketh hold of moft ages, You are rifen up in your fathers ftead, an increase of finfull men. What Num. 32. 14. His Majefties is that that hath been done? that which shall be done and there is no new thing under the funne, faith the wife man: and Eccles 1. caltancie not-S.Stephen. As your fathers did, fo do you. This, and more to this purpose, his Majefty that now reigneth (and long Acts 7. 51, withlanding and long may he reigne, and his off-fpring for ever, Himself and children, and childrens children alwayes) knew full well, Auto's, Taialumniation, according to the fingular wifdome given unto him by God, and the rare learning and experience that he hath attained daÉVTOTE Taj for the furvey unto; namely, That whofoever attempreth any thing for the publick (efpecially if it pertain to religion, and to the s. the English opening and clearing of the word of God) the fame fetteth himself upon a stage to be gloured upon by every evil eye;
yea, he cafteth himfelf headlong upon pikes, to be gored by every sharp tongue. For he that medleth with mens reli-
The praife of
But now what pietie without truth? what truth? (what faving truth) without the word of God? what word of God cap. 8. the holy fcri- (whereof we may be fure) without the Scripture? The Scriptures we are commanded to fearch, John 5. 39. Ifa. 8. 20.
They are commended that fearched and studied them Acts 17. 11. and 8. 28. 29. They are reproved that were unskilfull
The belt things have been ca Jumuiated.
The Tranflatours to the Reader.
heavineffe, comfort us; if dull, quicken us; if cold,en flame us.Tolle lege, Tolle lege, Take up and reade, take up and reade
fff.. 8.c. 12. the Scriptures, (for unto them was the direction) it was faid unto S. Auguftine by a fuppernaturall voice Whatsoever is in S. Auguft. de uti- the Scriptures, beleeve me, faith the fame S. Auguftine, is high and divine; there is verily truth, and a doctrine most fit for the
tul. de carne
refreshing and renewing of mens mindes and truely fo tempered, that every one may draw from thence that which is fufficient for
garly rudiments; finally, a fountain of moft pure water fpringing up to everlafting life. And what marveil? The origi-
But how shall men meditate in that which they cannot understand? How shall they understand that which is kept Translation close in an unkown tongue? as it is written, Except I know the power of the voice, I shall be to him that Speakesh a Barba- necessarie. rian, and be that fpeaketh shall be a Barbarian to me. The Apoftle excepteth no tongue; not Hebrew the ancienteft, not Greek the most copious, not Latine the fineft. Nature taught a naturall man to confeffe, that all of us in thofe tongues Strom. S Hie- which we do not understand, are plainly deaf; we may turn the deaf eare unto them. The Scythian counted the Athenian, ronym. Damafo, whom he did not understand, barbarous: fo the Romane did the Syrian, and the Jew, (even S. Hierome himself calleth Michael Theoph the Hebrew tongue barbarous, belike because it was ftrange to fo many) fo the Emperour of Conftantinople calleth the li fil. Tom. Confil. Latine tongue barbarous, though Pope Nicolas do ftorm at it: fo the Jews long before Chrift, called all other nations Lognafim, which is little better than barbarous. Therefore as one complaineth that alwayes in the Senate of Rome, there was one or other that called for an Interpreter: fo left the church be driven to the like exigent, it is neceffarie to have Cicero 5. de fini tranflations in a readineffe. Tranflation it is that openeth the window, to let in the light; that breaketh the shell, that we
ex edit. Petri
may eat the kernell; that putteth afide the curtain, that we may look into the moft holy place, that removeth the cover
While God would be known onely in Jacob,and have his name great in Ifrael, and in none other place; while the dew The tranflat lay on Gideons fleece onely, and all the earth befides was drie ; then for one and the fame people, which fpake all of them of the old te the language of Canaan, that is, Hebrew, one and the fame originall in Hebrew was fufficient. But when the fulncffe of ment out of time drew neare,that the Sunne of righteousneffe, the Sonne of God should come into the world, whom God ordained Hebrew into to be a reconciliation through faith in his bloud, not of the few onely, but also ofthe Greek, yea, of all them that were Greek. scattered abroad; then lo, it pleafed the Lord to ftirre up the spirit of a Greek Prince (Greek for defcent and language) even of Ptolomee Philadelph king of Egypt, to procure the tranflating of the book of God out of Hebrew into Greek. This is the tranflation of the Seventie interpreters, commonly fo called, which prepared the way for our Saviour among the Gentiles by written preaching, as S. John Baptift did among the Jews by vocall. For the Grecians being defirous of learning, were not wont to fuffer books of worth to lie moulding in kings libraries, but had many of their fervants, readie fcribes, to copie them out, and fo they were difperfed and made common. Again, the Greek tongue was well kuown and made familiar to most inhabitants in Afia, by reafon of the conquefts that there the Grecians had made, as also by the colonies, which thither they had fent. For the fame caufes alfo it was well understood in many places of Europe, yea, and of Afrik too. Therefore the word of God being fet forth in Greek, becometh hereby like a candle fet upon a candlestick, which giveth light to all that are in the houfe; or like a proclamation founded forth in the market place, which moft men presently take knowledge of; and therefore that language was fitteft to contain the Scriptures, both for the first preachers of the Gofpel to appeal unto for witnes, and for the learners alfo of thofe times to make fearch and triall by. It is certain, that that tranflation was not fo found and fo perfect, but that it needed in many places correction; and who had been fo fufficient for this work as the Apostles or apoftolike men? Yet it feemed good to the holy Ghost and to them,to take that which they found,(the fame being for the greatest part true and fufficient) rather than by making a new, in that new world and green age of the church, to expofe themselves to many exceptions and cavillations, as though they, made a tranflation to ferve their own turn;and therefore bearing witneffe to themfelves, their witneffe not to be regarded. This may be fuppofed to be fome caufe,why the tranflation of the Seventie was allowed to paffe for currant. NotwithSee S. Auguft. 2. ftanding, though it was commended generally, yet it did not fully content the learned, no not of the Jews. For not
terpreters, but alfo for Prophets in fome refpect:and Juftinian the Emperour enjoyning the Jews his fubjects to use efpe-
1 Cor. 14.
See S. Auguft. lib. 2 contra
Epiphan. de menfur. & pon